Creativity is just connecting things.
— Steve Jobs

Tag Archives: team

Movie Review: The Other Guys

The Other Guys movie posterIt seems an extraordinary feat to create a movie with Will Ferrell in it that’s not funny, but unfortunately, that’s just what Adam McKay did.

The Other Guys, a story about two NYPD desk jockeys, one of which was on the way up until he shot Derek Jeter in the leg during the World Series, come into their own by solving a massive financial scheme which would ruin the NYPD pension fund.

Sound hilarious? I didn’t think so either.

I don’t mean to pin this all on the film’s director and co-writer, Adam McKay. The casting was average, but the real problem was with Mark Wahlberg. He didn’t seem to have a good rapport with Mr. Ferrell, and their characters never seemed to evolve into “the next great cop duo of NYC” the film called for.

Mr. Wahlberg’s character, Terry Hoitz, had serious potential if only Dwayne Johnson portrayed him, rather than his actual character, Christopher Danson, one-half of the NYC über-cop team, which also consisted of Samuel L. Jackson as P.K. Highsmith. Like the stereotypical criminals in the film, Mr. Wahlberg just seemed like the wrong guy in the wrong part at the wrong time. His character was such a mishmash of unfinished comedy bits that I started to wonder if Mr. Wahlberg even silently questioned their rationale during filming.

Mr. Ferrell seemed trapped in his wound-too-tight character while the script never took advantage of his ridiculous college-age pimp back story. Mr. Ferrell did have some moments that reminded me why I bought the ticket in the first place, but not enough to give me confidence that this Ferrell/McKay team really put their all into this effort. Unfortunately I found myself wanting to laugh out of desperation, not out of necessity.

It also doesn’t help to have closing credits feature all of the recent national financial disasters in our country while Rage Against the Machine blasts in the background. Didn’t they realize people usually stick around for the credits because something FUNNY is in there? Was this movie about averting a major financial investment disaster or two unlikely lead characters becoming top cops? In the end, that question is what prevented me from thinking this was a comedy all along.

Come to think of it, the movie poster doesn’t even make sense either. Did the designer think this was a kung-fu cop movie? WTF?

You’ll need about 2 beers to get through the first 45 minutes, then take your time heading to the john, then sneak into a different theater to see something else.

Can Experiences Be Designed: A Response

I just finished reading this revealing post by Oliver Reichenstein over at iA (which I think is amazing) and can’t help but react to it.

The gist is this: “UX” has become warped by people in many ways (in practice, in title, in promise) that he’s fed up and needs to set things straight.

The question he posed is definitely worth discussing:

Can experiences be designed?

I’ll try to answer that now:

Of course they can. But that doesn’t mean they are static. They need to evolve over time, just like every living thing on this planet. If you, as the UX person responsible for evolving the experience, aren’t reacting to user needs, you won’t help your client remain a viable business. It’s that simple.

How do you do this? The biggest thing a UX leader can do for a client is to champion the vision of the experience while being open-minded. Business drivers change, products change and even sometimes the key decision maker changes during a project.

The way to stay open-minded is by separating your ego from the work. Ego is the single biggest project killer and time waster of them all. It takes the wind out of every team member, makes the client think you’re controlling his/her destiny (which is never the case) and worst of all, keeps you from listening to the users.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve also seen egoless teams in action and it. Is. Agonizing. I’ve watched them go back and rethink initiatives because they worry there might be a shred of new information that could undo all of their work. The truth is, there will ALWAYS be a shred of new information. Sometimes, they come in bunches! By keeping an open-mind, they just might inform rather than “undo” the work.

As for Oliver’s side conversation about UX titles and how people unjustly claim them, I can’t help but agree. For me, the proof is in the work and, most importantly, the results. Anyone can claim almost anything on an agency website, resume or Linkedin profile. However, if they can directly speak to the results, and equally important, the things they learned along the way to achieve those results, then they’re worth engaging. Simply claiming a title doesn’t mean you’ve produced anything of value to a client, user or your own organization.

The Back of Steve’s Mind

From a NYTimes article:

The Apple development team worried constantly that the approach might fail during the years they were creating the iPhone, he said.

“We all had that Garry Trudeau cartoon that poked fun at the Newton in the back of our minds,” he said, citing Doonesbury comic strips that mocked an Apple handwriting-recognition system in 1993. “This thing had to work.”

DRAG THIS!

Leopard is coming and Apple has done a nice job adding the new QuickLook functionality in the Finder.

Now you can drag any item that is showing in the CoverFlow view to a folder or disk or whatever. That’s not new because iTunes lets you do the same thing (not that I ever tried it until I began writing this post). Here’s what it looks like in iTunes:

Let’s compare that to the new Finder’s implementation as shown in the new Leopard tour video:

DAMN!

I find it very hard to read the text in the window’s sidebar, don’t you? I mean, obviously the code is simply following its own rules, but wouldn’t you agree that the Finder UI team should reconsider this one and replace the dragged object with a representation of the object at a smaller scale? Forget about a generic icon. Just make the thing animate to a smaller size when you start the drag so the application window behind the object isn’t blown out in the process.

What Will It Take?

Well the iPhone Dev Team is working overtime on jailbreaking the 1.1.1 update and I can’t help but wonder how Apple perceives these efforts.

Of course Apple holds all the cards with the iPhone’s app development, but this group of independent talent is essentially acting as the sole competition to Apple for its own product. If the team can open the phone up to third party apps, I suspect that Apple will have to work even harder to include more value-add applications and features to the phone to convince existing owners to willingly destroy/remove the add on items that make the iPhone even more customized to their specific liking.

Just imagine buying a car you’ve wanted for months then customizing it with accessories and parts but when you take it to the dealership for routine maintenance, they stripped the parts and gave your car back to you and said “hope you like it!” The same exact thing is happening here.

At some point in the near future, Apple will need to open up the iPhone to the core Mac OS developer community or else face the fact that the commonly held notion that Mac users love to quickly upgrade to the newest shiniest [blank] will seriously slow down. The one thing that would really put Apple in a huge bind is if there were a more visible brand and outlet for these apps.